Everywhere I went, people stared. They knew I wasn’t a Venezuelan. I looked differently, dressed differently, talked differently and walked differently. The first few weeks, I struggled with this a lot. I tried to fit in, to abandon my American ways, but it was futile. No matter what I did, people knew I was different.
Yet, my time in Venezuela has changed me, and I feared I would go through reverse culture shock when returning to the United States and thus feel homeless—belonging to neither Venezuela nor America. Yet, in a way, I think that’s how we as Christians should always feel. Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
After a tearful goodbye at the airport and multiple people asking when we were coming back, my teammate replied, “I don’t know if I ever will, but I’ll see you in heaven.” I long for that day when we will all worship God together in one place—our home. Hebrews 13:14 tells us, “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” Ephesians 2:19 says, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
God used the fact that we stood out to bring people to his kingdom. People on the street stopped us to ask where we were from and why we were in Venezuela, giving us the opportunity to share the gospel and welcome many new brothers and sisters into our family. Although I am now in Texas, I want to retain this foreign feeling—to know that my time on earth is so short, just as my time in Venezuelan was temporal.